An air conditioner is a big investment. So, it makes sense to do what you can to get the most out of the investment.

Here are our top 5 tips to help your air conditioner outlast your neighbors'.

Change the air filter regularly (and don't forget it!)

The air filter's job is to catch large airborne pollutants to keep them from harming your air conditioner. So, from normal use the air filter gets dirty. But when it gets too dirty, it can actually start to suffocate your air conditioner, making it work harder and cutting down its usable life span.

You can make your air conditioner last longer and avoid this problem simply by replacing the air filter regularly. How often you should change it depends on the type of air filter you have. If you have a simple fiberglass filter, you should check it every 30 days and replace it when it's dirty. For other filters, follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

Trim the bushes around your air conditioner

Many Atlanta-area homeowners have bushes or shrubs growing around the air conditioner to hide it. The problem is this can actually hurt your A/C's life by reducing the airflow to it (much the same way a dirty air filter does).

Trim bushes and shrubs so they are at least 18-24 inches away from the air conditioner.

Keep Fido away from your air conditioner

Dogs (especially males) can wreak havoc on your air conditioner. The web is filled with many tales of air conditioners ruined by dog urine (and we run across them, too.) Consider putting a fence around your air conditioner to keep your dog from urinating on it.

Keep your vents clear and open

Before turning on your air conditioner for the summer, make sure there's nothing obstructing the vents. Furniture, curtains, or other things in front of your vents can cause your air conditioner to have to run longer and more often in order to keep your home cool.

Get your air conditioner tuned up by a professional

Like your car, your air conditioner needs regular maintenance to keep running efficiently year after year. A maintenance visit from an air conditioning professional helps your air conditioner last longer by taking care of important things like cleaning the coils. Read more about why a tune up is important.

Not only is this recommended by us and local utility companies, it's also mandated by most manufacturers. They believe it's so important that if you don't maintain your air conditioner, you could void your warranty.

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